The boat

Saving Grace is a 2001 Saga 43, hull no. 40 (of 56 I think). The 43 was designed by Robert Perry and built by Saga in St. Catharines, Ontario between 1995 and 2005 or so.

How, or why did we choose this boat?

While still in the early years of owning our first boat I set about learning all I could about what makes a good boat, in particular, what makes a good ocean-going boat. Obviously design and technology undergo constant evolution, and sorting out informed vs. personal opinions and marketing chaff took a lot of effort. If you wonder what your high school physics, chemistry and math were good for, this would be it.

There is no perfect boat, as there are too many parameters to satisfy without some of them being mutually exclusive.

In spite of coming very close to choosing a relatively heavy boat, after corresponding with other Saga owners we realized that the design of the 43 exceeded not only our expectations for ocean voyaging performance, but those for space and comfort below and in harbour too.

The hull is one of the earlier modern performance cruiser designs, with a fin keel, spade rudder and relatively plumb bow. However it also has a subtle yet effective flare just aft of the bow for reduced deck spray, rounded bilges that reduce pounding when going upwind and a beam that is quite narrow for its length. The dual headstay is a Solent rig, not a cutter, as each headsail is meant for entirely different conditions. Both are on furlers, with the 130% genoa made larger by being placed well forward of the deck on a very beefy bowsprit. The inner headsail is a self-tacking blade jib for upwind work in heavier air.

Equipment and custom modifications include: Klacko arch with 5 x 105W solar panels; Monitor steering vane that swings out to allow use of the swim platform when anchored; stern rails that go forward to the boarding gates and incorporate stern seats; Phaser 3.5 kW AC generator; Hurricane 42,000 BTU diesel hydronic cabin and DHW heater; Spectra Catalina 300 reverse osmosis watermaker; and a 1,190 lb. keel shoe.

We also have a 10′ nesting Spindrift rowing and sailing dinghy upside down on deck under the boom. We rejected having an outboard in order to force us to get some exercise through rowing and didn’t want another engine to store and maintain, especially one using gasoline.

By the numbers:

  • Length On Deck (LOD) – 43′ 3″
  • Length Overall (LOA) – 46′ 3″
  • Length at the Waterline (LWL) – 38′ 11″
  • Beam – 12′
  • Draft – 6′
  • Displacement – 21,242 lbs (custom)
  • Ballast – 8,700 lbs (custom)
  • Mast Height – 63′ 6″
  • IJPE (genoa) – 58′ 2”, 18′ 3”, 51′, 15′ 6”
  • Fuel – 2 tanks 55 + 30 gallons
  • Water – 2 tanks @ 65 gallons
  • Holding – 17 gallons (custom)
  • Engine – Yanmar 4JH-3E 56hp
  • House battery bank – 6 x Crown 235 6V for 705 A-hr at 12V

Calculated numbers:

  • Sail Area (100% foretriangle – genoa) – 952 sq. ft.
  • Sail Area/Displacement (SA/D) – 19.8 (custom)
  • Displacement/Length (D/L) – 161 (custom)
  • Ballast/Displacement – 41% (custom)